How to not FAIL the Software Development Interview

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How to not FAIL the Software Development Interview

  1. 1. HOW TO NOT FAILTHE SOFTWARE INTERVIEW
  2. 2. The First Call Almost always a Recruiter / HR Person Ask for the Job Description Tailor your answers to the bullet points  Give them the Keywords they are looking for.  Don’t drown in the details.  Play up non-development skills, personality, communication, teamwork, and leadership. Highlight Past / Present Accomplishments Have a good answer as to why you are looking. Be prepared to talk MONEY!!!
  3. 3. Recon Study the Job Description  Highlight technologies you are experienced with.  Highlight technologies / acronyms you are not familiar with. Go get basic definitions of all of them. Print them… Study the Company  Read about the companies core competency  What do they do. Try to put yourself in their developers shoes.  Read other job descriptions on their website.  Look for technologies and processes (i.e. Silverlight & Scrum)  Look for identifiers of problems  “Fast paced” / “challenging environment”, “good people skills a must”, “certification “XYZ” required.
  4. 4. The TECHNICAL CALL Will follow shortly after the recruitment call.  Within 5 to 10 days; if longer they are probably not all that serious or they have other candidates. Resume Driven / Job Description Driven  Be ready to give an overview of your experience / resume.  Have a highlighted copy of the job description in hand.  Be prepared to answer questions that match your resume to the job description.  Focus on you highlighted positive skills.  Don’t act like you know everything, unless you do, be realistic.  NO CODE – But expect high level concept questions.
  5. 5. The In-Person Interview - HR Possible HR Section  Relax – Focus on non-development skills, personality, communication, teamwork, and leadership.  Unless you really screw up this person has no decision making in your hiring. Forms and Formalities  Personality Tests, IQ Tests, Background Checks, Credit Checks, Drug Tests.  Be prepared with paperwork.  ID, Social Security Card, Previous Paystub or W2, List of references
  6. 6. The In-Person Interview - Technical Usually More Fit than Function  Meet the team, they will be the ones who decide.  Remember they are more scared of you then you are of them.  They don’t want it to be awkward, so they will help. Focus on what you can do for them.  Will start off with the same things as the Technical Call: Review your Resume, Take about the Job Description, Discuss the Company.  Will progress into usually predefined list of questions. Get the answers online before you go. (Developers are LAZY even more so when they interview.)  It could end here, they will stare at each other and ask if there is anything else to ask. OR it won’t!!!! – The Test.
  7. 7. THE TEST - LOGIC Personality / Logic Test  Hardly ever done well, someone looked it up online.  Why are manholes round, light switches and such.  They just want to see your thought process. How to Not FAIL  Research the questions online  Even if you know the answer don’t answer right away walk it through.  If they ask you something you don’t know just work through it for a maximum of 2 – 3 minutes talk it out.
  8. 8. The Test – BAD TESTS The CODE Test – BAD VERSION  These guys are just trying to make it as hard as possible.  There is a reason and it is not a good thing.  Do your best – but rethink wanting to work there.  Here is some generic code find the bug.  Please write the pseudo-code to sort a linked list.  Please write us a memory optimizer.  Study Code Tests Online Before you Go The CODE Test – WORSE VERSION  Thanks for coming in oh and BTW we need you to take this online test. You know D# right?
  9. 9. The Test – GOOD Tests The CODE Test – GOOD VERSION  These guys want you to wow them a bit, but they don’t want you to fail either.  Here is a laptop with internet access.  Please give us a program that does A, B, C.  Using these Technologies.  We will give you 1 hour to do it, see you in a bit. How to not FAIL  Hello Worlds on technology you don’t know before you go.  Post your pre-code online to reference, pull down if you can.  If your completely lost look for code examples online.
  10. 10. Closing the Technical InterviewThe Biggest Question in the Interview! Do you have any questions for us?  YES Always Have a List.  This could be the longest portion of the interview.  Ask Questions That Highlight You As An Answer…  What technologies are you looking at for the future?  How do you see the future of your team and your Product Roadmap?  How does this position fit in that vision?  What challenges do you see on a day to day basis?  How can this new position help with those challenges?
  11. 11. INTERVIEW with the BIG BOSS If you make it here your probably in. This is a sanity check to make sure the team is not crazy. Focus on your future, goals, aspirations, but stay a bit grounded. Talk about your past successes, and accomplishments, focus on results. Where do you see yourself in 5 years. Don’t tell him you want his job…
  12. 12. THE Aftermath The Thank You Email.  Don’t be a Stalker.  If they gave you a business card use it. The Recruiter is your conduit, don’t ask questions about the future to anyone else? What are the next steps? Ask the Recruiter.

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